A vital Hampshire wildlife haven has been saved after plans for a new housing scheme were thrown out.

Naturalists and residents were worried the area would be under threat if proposals to build the homes nearby were given the go ahead.

Baddesley Common Wildlife Reserve, Emer Bog and Nutburn Meadow back on to the site of the proposed scheme in North Baddesley.

The area is home to roe deer, brown hares, harvest mice, adders and common lizard. More than 130 different species of spider have also been found.

Planners received more than 30 letters objecting to the plans to build 44 homes by builders Perbury on land off Botley Road and Nutburn Road.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Romsey and District Society, Southern Water and Natural England were also concerned.

John O’Reilly from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust told Test Valley planners that the organisation owned Emer Bog.

He said the proposed development threatened to erode “this special place” and the “green lung” between Chandler’s Ford, Romsey and North Baddesley.

The applicant’s agent Roger Daniels, said there was an “overriding need” for more housing in the area and a shortage of building land and “and if anything the shortage is getting worse”.

He said the proposed development would provide an opportunity for local people to have a home.

But also objecting Romsey MP and borough councillor Caroline Nokes said: “It’s clear that there is no overriding need for this housing and this site is in the countryside.”

And North Baddesley member Steve Cosier added: “This will destroy habitat and species of importance. Ember Bog and Baddesley Common is also an important buffer zone between North Baddesley and Romsey.

“These plans would destroy it all. Nutburn Meadow is also rich in wildlife and fauna and runs the risk of being destroyed and it is completely the wrong site to put any development north of the village which is really the jewel in our crown.”